Passion in international relations theory

2006-01-25

in Daily updates, Oxford

Painting on Claire's wall

International Relations theory has a way of bringing out the passions in people. Roham, Sheena, Alex, Bryony, and the rest of my core seminar group had a particularly energetic discussion about liberal international relations theory today. The instructors were similarly engaged and, overall, it made for an interesting contrast with the relatively staid (though informative) character of our history seminar last term. These are the big questions that are coming up now. What is moral conduct for states? Does that question even mean anything? Can we build a better world and address the mistakes of the past? You cannot travel from across the world, at huge effort and expense, to study international relations, without caring deeply about these questions. To be in the position where people both have that level of interest and commitment and a high level of respect for one another is intellectually thrilling.

After a short nap to help combat electoral fatigue, I set about finishing my paper for Dr. Hurrell this afternoon. Now that Claire has taken a peek at the first draft, I should be able to hammer out a finalized version, with citations and all the rest, to be hand-delivered to Nuffield before my noon lecture tomorrow. Much as I would rather get to sleep, duty calls.

Of course, it wouldn’t be quite so late if I hadn’t spent at least an hour in Wellington Square introducing Claire to some of my favourite music. Of course, even the most basic of utilitarian calculations (probably the best I can manage) would demonstrate that the time was enormously better spent from a long-term perspective than devoting another hour to straightening out slightly kinked sentences or regenerating bodily tissues.

Seeing about 1000 visitors during the past 30 hours or so, on account of the election coverage that was here, has given me the slightest taste of mainstream blogging. While I don’t think I have the time, desire, or ability to write the kinds of blogs that tens of thousands of people stream through daily, I do like to write things of interest beyond the circle of my family and friends. Like privacy versus disclosure, it’s just one of those tensions that can’t be eliminated in this kind of writing.


  • Potentially useful fact of the day: All my photos are calibrated to look best at 1.8 Standard Gamma and the D65 white point: equivalent to midday sunlight. If you’re using an Apple LCD monitor, these are the default settings.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

B January 25, 2006 at 1:31 am

“I don’t think I have the time, desire, or ability to write the kinds of blogs that tens of thousands of people stream through daily,”

Time: probably not
Desire: who’s to say
Ability: You definitely have this, though it might be a waste.

Anonymous January 25, 2006 at 3:14 pm

“To be in the position where people both have that level of interest and commitment and a high level of respect for one another is intellectually thrilling.”

I am glad of that. All your whining about quantitative methods had me worried about the quality of the academic climate over there.

Meghan January 25, 2006 at 5:21 pm

Nothing to do with anything… but this reminded me of our class with Danielson, and the hours spent reading Paradise Lost around Fairview kitchen tables and in snowy tents.

http://www.sinfest.net/d/20060124.html

. December 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Paradise Lost in Translation

A new ‘prose translation’ of Milton’s classic poem has been written by Prof Dennis Danielson in an effort to help make it available to a wider audience, if they find the original language too difficult. Apparently he wasn’t the first to think of it, but considers his a translation rather than a retelling, and it is printed as a dual edition / parallel text.

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